There are now more than ten thousand parcel pickup points in the Netherlands. In particular, in large cities, the share of online shoppers picking up parcels at parcel points is increasing slightly. In less urban and rural areas, there are initiatives for neighborhood hubs in private homes and parcel lockers in stores and at bus stops.

Big business

Yes, it’s big business. Parcel locker provider InPost went public on the Amsterdam stock exchange for 8 billion euros. Meanwhile, Homerr, Viatim, Instabox, and Budbee are rolling out manned and unmanned parcel locker networks in Europe. BringMe and MyPup offer unmanned solutions…

Dutch e-groceries company Picnic is celebrating its first five years. Maybe they don’t make a profit yet; Picnic chooses to grow fast. But, those first five years brought disruptive and inspiring lessons about creating ‘rust, reinheid en regelmaat’. Or as Picnic states: milkman 2.0.


The most important lesson is Picnic’s focus. Not everyone, not everything, and not everywhere. With a relatively small assortment, a limited number of time windows from which the consumer can choose, only in carefully chosen neighborhoods and with a controlled rollout in the Netherlands and Germany. Despite a limited number of time windows, the consumer…

Due to housing plans in many European, there is less room for city logistics activities. The loss of light industrial areas in and around cities leads to major city logistics problems. How will we receive our parcels at home, how will restaurants, cafés, and shops be delivered?

Many European cities will grow in the coming decades, both in terms of population and activities. Population growth is strongly related to employment growth. The integration of working and living in cities is important to remain economically and socially diverse and also to create local job opportunities for skilled workers in the future.

Dutch cartel watchdog Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will, due to the corona crisis, monitor competition in the Netherlands less strictly. ACM director Martijn Snoep explains: “For example, supermarkets want to know if they can keep each other informed. We are faced with those kinds of questions”. This offers opportunities for groundbreaking cooperation in food deliveries.

With this approach, supermarkets are allowed to inform each other about how much inventory they have, says ACM. Logistics service providers are allowed to cooperate in the distribution of food. Branches may make agreements with each other about the smooth handling of debtors…

Despite more than 25 years of research in city logistics, it seems impossible to keep the growing number of, often half-empty, trucks out of our cities. City logistics problems seem unsolvable. Many initiatives fail, other initiatives only survive with subsidies or get caught in bureaucratic systems. But they don’t result in fewer trucks and vans. Why?

Wrong data, wrong issues
At first, the data about urban freight are simply wrong. Did we really look into those trucks? And are the freight data complete? Most trucks are not for retail store deliveries. Vans delivering parcels? Just 5 percent of urban freight…

It is impossible to imagine our streets without meal delivery services anymore. In the Netherlands, consumers get more than 300 million meals delivered this year. There are more than 50,000 meal deliveries in Amsterdam every evening.

The growing army of delivery bikes and scooters from Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat don’t respect any traffic rule. Driving through red lights, over the sidewalks, all in a hurry. The results: many dead and injured meal delivery drivers, often without insurance.

At first, I thought it would bring something good to the neighborhood. Nice to see all those young delivery men and…

The light commercial vehicle, or delivery van, is the workhorse of both companies and the self-employed in the economy. And with good reason: it is a multifunctional and flexible mode of transport and compared to (smaller) trucks and cars it is also cheap to buy and use. Moreover, a ‘lighter’ drivers license B is sufficient to drive a light commercial vehicle (LCV).

Light goods vehicles (LGVs) or vans are defined as commercial vehicles of no more than 3.5 tonnes and HGVs as commercial vehicles more than 3.5 tonnes. About 80 percent of city logistics is done with LCV’s and cities around have seen major growth in light goods vehicles in recent years. LGVs were the last to transition to the Euro 6 standard. The impact of LGVs on air pollution and congestion in cities is significant.

Use of LGVs: very diverse

In total 35% to 50% of all vans are used for goods logistics. Over half of all vans are deployed in…

City logistics is becoming more finely meshed and more frequent. The transport of freight in cities with heavy freight vehicles and light commercial vehicles leads to congestion, a poor air quality, noise pollution, and incidents. The maximum loading volume of heavy freight vehicles and light commercial vehicles is rarely needed for urban freight. The urgency to promote smart and zero-emission city logistics is growing. Light Electric Freight Vehicles (LEFV) may be one solution to current city logistics challenges.

On line groceries Amsterdam (picture AH)

A new publication presents the results of the LEFV-LOGIC project: a two-year research into the use of light electric freight vehicles for…

The delivery of packages ordered online can be made much more sustainable: “Unnecessarily large vehicles are essentially transporting air,” says Walther Ploos van Amstel, professor of city logistics at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The way he sees it, there are twice as many delivery vans driving around in the city as necessary.

Different planning

It’s one thing to have smart transport vehicles, but you are also going to need dynamic planning. That’s what we need to keep steering towards. The delivery of parcels involves an average of 40 to 50% slack time.

Walther Ploos van Amstel on Twinkle: “Travel…

So far, city logistics has played a limited role in improving air quality in cities. The focus on clean vehicles has been positive for air quality. But shouldn’t we really be talking about economically sound, vital and healthy city centers and neighborhoods when developing urban freight policies? Today, “zero impact” city logistics should be the focal point.

Air quality in cities is unhealthy. The air in cities contains many different substances, both particulate matter and gases. Among other things, the particles released during combustion in diesel engines are a threat to our health. …

Walther Ploos van Amstel

Dr. Walther Ploos van Amstel is professor in CityLogistics and Urban Technology at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

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